All posts tagged video

The Right Way To Handle Church Media Fumbles

The Right Way To Handle Church Media Fumbles

I’m one of those weird people who rarely dream at night. Seriously – we’re talking nearly once every six months here. I’ll often hear my friends telling funny stories of the silly circumstances that their subconscious cooked up in their dreams. Sometimes they’ll even share their eerie nightmares that followed a late dinner of Chinese takeout. But, that’s not me.

On the rare occasion that my subconscious constructs a story that plays out as I sleep, it’s usually about a church media fumble. That’s right. I have nightmares about things going wrong on Sunday morning with production.

It may be a video freezing in the middle of playback, a click track skipping, or accidentally pressing the Live Video button in ProPresenter (which then defaults to the webcam and shows my embarrassed face to the entire audience).

Chills…

As I examine these nightmares, one thing stands out to me about myself. I can get WAYYYY too focused on my media being flawless. Church media shouldn’t be about the pursuit of perfection, but about building a team that uses their talents to enhance Sunday services for others. Sure, it’s okay to strive for error-less services. But, when is the last time you kept your “scorecard” on your team’s wins, rather than how many mistakes you made in a service?

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to shadow the production team at the Auburn campus of Church of the Highlands. It was there that I first caught a glimpse of a healthy way to approach mistakes in live production. On this particular weekend, they were experiencing a lot of heavy rainfall and it was slowing down their internet connection quite a bit. A solid connection is vital to the flow of their services because they are an extension site that projects a live video feed from their main campus in Birmingham.

In the three services that I joined them for that Sunday, they experienced trouble with the live feed in each service. To make matters worse, the one safety net that they have established for this, a hard drive with a recording of the earlier service, was malfunctioning for the first time in campus history. Let me be clear here—I would have been freaking out.

In the midst of all of these chaotic circumstances, their team kept level heads. While they may not have been able to prevent some problems, they worked hard to make all of the areas that they could control right. In fact, to sit back and watch their team come together in those moments was really incredible. Rather than cussin’ and fussin’ as it’s easy to do in the heat of those moments, they communicated calmly and executed their tasks with precision. When mistakes were made, they quickly picked themselves up and encouraged each other to keep moving forward. In a day filled with stress, I even saw them highfiving each other when things would go right.

Have you ever celebrated what went right with your media on Sunday morning?

At the conclusion of my shadowing, I spent a few minutes with the team’s leader, Marc Johnson. He shared with me a very simple, but profound truth. Their production booth is located in a very visible area in the back of their auditorium. If their team was to outwardly express whenever things were going wrong, everyone in the room would take notice. Not only is the worship team and campus pastor looking directly to them, but the entire audience can see them. If they will keep a level head when things are going wrong, everyone else will, too.

He also shared with me a great silver lining of publicly making fumbles. When everything is going great with production, potential volunteers assume they aren’t needed. Sometimes the smallest mistakes on a Sunday morning will prompt newcomers that help is needed and they’ll make a move to start volunteering. While it’s never intentional that a mistake is made, this has inspired many people to get involved in his time there. (They have a current rotation of around 40 production volunteers.)

Overall, you must realize that perfection is impossible. What’s important is that you always work to nurture an atmosphere of excellence, while still providing the grace necessary to make fumbles and learn from them.

Learn from your mistakes. Be proud of your accomplishments. More than anything else, understand the importance of what you do for the Kingdom.

Free Motion of the Month – August ’14

Free Motion of the Month

This month, we’ve partnered with the awesome Church Motion Graphics to bring you a custom motion that’s going to look great in your services. I love this background because it stands out from a lot of the other motions that I’ve seen lately and can work in a number of environments.

This freebie is only available for the month of August 2014.
This download includes HD, SD, and still versions.
This motion is free to download, but please do not redistribute. (Please link back to this page.)

To get this free motion, simply subscribe to receive our weekly email newsletter. You’ll receive your download link via email within the hour.

Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter

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Six Qualities of A Perfect Motion Background

Six Qualities of a Perfect Motion Background

Did you know that there are nearly 17,000 motion backgrounds available for download today? The amazing thing is that number only includes motions that were specifically created to be used in ministry settings. There’s no shortage of selection when you’re shopping for backgrounds to display behind your church’s worship lyrics. However, not all motions are created equal. There are certain qualities that you should look for before spending your ministry’s money on this content.

Here are six qualities that should be non-negotiable when choosing your motion backgrounds:

1. Clean and Modern Design

It seems right to begin this list with the first characteristic that makes or breaks a motion for me. The very purpose of a background is to make slides visually pleasing. Part of looking good is following current design trends. Ditch the doves, hi-tech themes, and waterfalls, then choose motions that fit in with today’s styles.

2. Designed To Work With White Text

I would estimate that around 90% of lyrics being projected in churches on Sundays are using white text. Why? It works best for visibility. White is the brightest color you can get out of projector, it stands out from other colors, and it’s easy to read. The best motions avoid light colors and bright animations that would make white text difficult to see.

3. Animations Are Engaging, Not Distracting

Have you ever seen a motion that seemed like it drank a couple Redbulls before service? While animations provide a great way to create an engaging atmosphere, you must be careful that they aren’t too distracting. The perfect motion’s animations flow with music and add value to the environment without taking away from the moment.

4. Colors Are Rich and Vibrant

My favorite motion backgrounds seem like they come alive when they’re projected. Rich, vibrant colors look amazing when they’re shown on good projectors. Also, when you’re working with cheaper projectors, they are sometimes the only saving grace that allow your lyrics to show up at all.

5. Loop Matches Up Perfectly

All motions should be designed to perfectly loop. The end of the video should flawlessly line up with the beginning to create a seamless animation that could repeat infinitely without your audience ever knowing it looped once. Unfortunately, I’ve seen quite a few backgrounds that haven’t been up to par in this department. This is why it’s so important to get your motions from experienced producers who know what they’re doing.

6. Works Well With Other Media

Great motion backgrounds are designed to work well with other media you may be using on a Sunday morning. It may come in pack with several coordinating backgrounds and countdowns, or it may just have colors that make it play nice with a lot of other content in your media library. In a best case scenario, all of your media used throughout the service will match and carry a common theme.

Do you have any other qualities that you look for when selecting motion backgrounds? Let us know in the comments below or send us a tweet to @CreativePastor!

7 Foolproof Tips For More Creative Sermons

7 Foolproof Tips For More Creative Sermons

Lead pastors, preachers, and teaching pastors, your job does not come easy. There is an incredible amount of pressure to deliver excellent messages week after week. You spend a ton of time and energy preparing to deliver sermons that you just pray will connect with your audience. Then, you hear stats like 90% of unchurched people choose a church based on the pastor or preaching. (Thom Rainer) You have my respect.

Because of this high demand for engaging sermons, I set out to offer my most practical tips to add some creativity to your messages. My hope is that they will inspire you and help make your sermons fresh and unique for your audience.

1. Tell More Stories

People love a good story. From the dawn of time we have shared stories as a method of communication and that’s because they work. Audience members who have checked out in the first ten minutes will spring to life when you say, “Recently, when I took my family on a camping trip…” or “I was reading recently about Stephen Spielberg’s first days in the movie business…” If a story is well-chosen and told effectively, you’ll get your point across in a way a normal lecture never could.

2. Brainstorm With A Few Creative Friends

This works hand-in-hand with the previous tip. Have you ever attended a church so long that you learned all of the pastor’s go-to stories? I have. I’ve been the person sitting in the pew thinking, “Seriously? You’re telling this story again?” Keep this from happening by inviting a few trusted friends into your sermon prep. This immediately adds to your illustration arsenal. For example, your last point may be about integrity and your colleague may have the perfect story to really drive that idea home.

3. Include Movie, TV, or Audio Clips

Playing clips from popular movies, TV shows, or even songs can be a powerful way to enhance sermon points. It gets people excited about your message and creates memorable teaching moments. Not to mention you get to leverage the skills of Hollywood’s most talented storytellers. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to obtain the rights to play clips like this with a simple CCVI license and there are clip services like WingClips.

4. Show A Mini-Movie

Similar to playing a clip from a feature-length film, mini-movies are a great way to communicate ideas in a powerful way. What makes this option so effective is that these clips are specifically created to be used in churches. Far too often I see these videos only used by pastors on special occasions like holidays. I would encourage you to build these into your normal preaching schedule or aim for at least once a month. Take a regular visit to WorshipHouse to see what’s new or consider a subscription from Igniter or Centerline.

5. Incorporate A Prop

Several months ago, I visited a Sunday service to hear a pastor friend of mine speak. For full disclosure, I’ll admit that he is one of my all-time favorite preachers. One thing that he has always been amazing at is including a prop in his sermon. On this occasion, he brought out a simple umbrella for his illustration and, yes, he opened it! The moment that umbrella opened every eye in the auditorium was focused on him. He first used it to complement a story of his family stuck in the rain but then brought it back to illustrate the covering of God’s protection. I’ve seen everything from baseball gloves to pizza boxes to medieval swords used like this. Don’t be afraid to get creative to make a memorable moment.

6. Show A Testimony Video

I recently visited a church where the pastor communicated a fantastic sermon on giving. Weeks later I’m still feeling encouraged that my giving makes a difference in both my life and in the Kingdom. But as I look back, I cannot recall the pastor’s exact sermon points or give you a list of specific scriptures. What has stuck with me, however, is a 3 minute testimony video of one of their members sharing how tithing changed their life. It was an incredible video that validated everything the pastor had been preaching for 30 minutes. (Watch it here.)

7. Include More Photos

One of the best ways to make your sermon more alive is to display photos to accompany your words. For example, if you’re sharing a quote from C.S. Lewis, why not show a photo of him alongside your quoted text? Or if you’re telling a story of a snowstorm from a few years back, why not display a photo of just how deep it was. It can even be helpful to lighten the mood with a funny photo of your kids or something that you saw during the week. The key to all of these is to be intentional that it all has a purpose and that it adds to your message rather than distracting.

 

Have you tried any of these tips? Is there anything that you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 7/3/14

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Every week, we’re excited to share a five-pack of useful tips for those serving in creative ministry! Each Thursday, we post practical advice on topics such as media, social networking, design, and marketing. While these tips may be simple, they have the potential to radically improve your church. These images are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ready, so help us spread the word by sharing them with your followers!

When running Sunday morning media, be present and pay attention. Don't publish your social media content and then disappear. Be available to participate in sparked conversations.Approach every design as an opportunity to learn. Even the best marketing campaign couldn't attract every demographic . Too often we focus on the latest tech gadgets while we haven't been good stewards of the equipment that God has already given us.

Which of these tips do you need to work on most? Let us know in the comments below!